Imagine a bright blue light shining at your neck, or ears, or at your finger. Imagine the beauty of a rare jewel whose colour is a show of its own. This is the Tanzanite, a rare gem bearing the name of the state where it was first found in 1967. At first, the name should have been Zoisite Blue – because the kind of stone is of zoisite type. But the pronounciation of this word in English sounded as “suicide”, so they looked for a new name. For a while it was called Mount Meru Sapphire, then the famous American jewelry “Tiffany” chose the name Tanzanite, which remained forever. Let’s find out more about this gem, one of the most precious in the world.
How Tanzanite was discovered
Tanzanite was first discovered at the foot of the Merelani Ranges, a group of mountains not far from the town of Arusha, north of Tanzania. This is the region where tour operators organize excursions to the nearby lakes and to the Kilimanjaro volcano. The gem was found by chance, during some excavation works near Mount Meru and for a long time the name of the discoverer was thought to be Manuel De Souza. In 1984, though, a local guide – mister Ndugu Jumanne Ngoma – gained the worldwide recognition as the only discoverer of Tanzanite.
Tanzanite is a zoisite brown rock which can get a very special colour called “purple-blue”. In fact, it is dark blue but depending on how the light hits the refined stone it can turn to light blue or violet. Because of this unique colour and for the difficulty in finding it, Tanzanite is a rare gem and very expensive too. A diamond is still a bit more expensive than Tanzanite, just because it is harder and more resistant but the price of Tanzanite is very very high as well.
Do not confuse Tanzanite with sapphire, though the colour might look the same at first glance. The African gem’s shade is more specific and particular. Besides, Tanzanite’s blue colour is due to a particular hot working process they practice on the original stone, while sapphire’s blue is all natural.
Depending on how clean the stone is, how many shades it has and how bright it appears, its price goes from 1.00 to 3.00 at carat with a market cost going from 200 Dollars to 800 Dollars per carat. The biggest Tanzanites have been found in 2005 (one stone, 3.4 kg) and in 2020 (two stones, 5 kg and 9.27 kg!). Recently Tanzania has banned the export of raw Tanzanite stones abroad in order to start national processing and refining activities, so to promote local work and craft.
Where can you buy Tanzanite
Tanzanite can be used for necklaces, earrings and rings. It matches perfectly with white gold, diamonds and sapphires. You can easily buy Tanzanites at Arusha and in the nearby region’s shops, but of course you find it also in the best jewelries worldwide. Today, there are many online jewels shops that also sell Tanzanites, but you better do not trust them. Ask your jeweler, also to be well informed about the (high) prices! You can take the chance of your honeymoon trip to Tanzania … and make her happy with the surprise of a special Tanzanite ring!